My daughter, Annabelle, recently took her first steps in long strides. Before this special moment, Annabelle walked three or four steps into the arms of this parent. She stood for extended periods in the same place, however, watching her walk through several rooms sparked my heart and soul. For everyone who was present, it was an extraordinary memory!
On the day of these magical experiences, Lisa, Annabelle, and I were among some close friends and family. In fact, I hired a professional photographer to take our photos, and of course, he captured Annabelle walking on the day of her first steps. Visiting from out-of-town, my parents (known by their grandchildren as CeCe and G-Daddy) were present for family portraits. While I planned the photography shoot beforehand, I never knew that Annabelle would be making baby history records to create a magical occasion.
In addition to Annabelle’s grandparents witnessing this event, we specifically met at the Beckers’ residence for our photoshoot. Their home is pleasantly well-designed on the interior level, and their property also creates a scene for a beautiful landscape and the foliage of nearby forest areas. We were introduced to this incredible family at a church we regularly attend in Knoxville, Tennessee. Originally from South Africa, the Becker family now permanently reside in East Tennessee. Gary and Jolandi have three remarkable daughters who love Annabelle in a familiar way. Lisa and I were blessed to share these exceptional moments with Gary and his three daughters!
My family celebrated Annabelle’s accomplishment with some of the most precious people present in our lives. With wondrous company, the Beckers’ residence contributes a peaceful, Spirit-filled atmosphere that makes an individual feel right at home, even if visiting this place for the first time. Their home environment establishes a harmonious melody in the heartstrings of the soul.
To recapture the ideal timing of this incident, we were among close friends and family in a unique place. A well-trained photographer took pictures. Annabelle just happened to start walking longer and longer distances in this quintessential setting. It felt like a miracle!
As I continue to watch Annabelle learn the concept of balance in strides, she falls down frequently. These falls sometimes cause minor injuries that then lead to crying. As a result, Lisa and I swoop Annabelle into our arms as one of us kisses her “booboo” to make it feel better. Even among the hurtful falls, Annabelle rises up and tries again! As she falls and gets back up, she gets better at the new skill of balance in walking. Soon enough, she will be running. Even though the pain of these plunges hurts, these downfalls lead to speed. Over time, Annabelle perfects the skill of walking and eventually will run as quickly as she can.
Annabelle’s walking journey reminds us of our own lessons of life. When we fall in the face of adversity, we experience a choice to get back up or lay down, dwelling on the calamities before us (speaking in a metaphorical sense). Annabelle often falls only to sit down again. While she cries on some occasions, she usually wants to try repeatedly. Annabelle gets up! It is quite admirable how resilient children become as they grow. Sometimes that is what we must also do, learning from the example of a child. Push forward. Get up again! And remember that we are champions, meant to develop into overcomers for Christ. When I need a reminder of this truth, I remember and meditate on the following Bible verses.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
For your enjoyment, I have posted pictures of Annabelle’s miraculous first steps. If you are a parent, I am sure you will recall your children’s first steps and how meaningful those moments meant to you and all who witnessed the occasion.
Many thanks to the talents of Jack Horsley for the wonderful photos!
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